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Undeniably the most famous episode of Krsna's youthful life in Vraja, the moonlit tryst with the gopls has been celebrated across India for millennia--variously recounted in Sanskrit and vernacular languages, and sensuously represented in poetry, drama, music, and the visual arts. Because the story depicts simple cowherd women enjoying intimate contact with Krsna without knowing he is God, scholars have often viewed the gopls and their spontaneous love as proof that bhakti is a democratizing force allowing all people, regardless of caste or gender, unmediated access to divinity and deliverance from samsara. According to this view, women are particularly privileged in their intimate relations with Krsna, praised in Sanskrit texts even for their transgressions of dharma, thus demonstrating that bhakti is a socially subversive force in an otherwise conservative culture. In the introduction to his recent, popular translation of the tenth skandha of the Bhagavata Purana, for example, Edwin Bryant (2003: liv-lv) claims in a discussion of the gopls that Invoking the power of Krsna in order to "challenge aspects of the social and cultural milieu of the day," the Bhagavata, according to Bryant, thereby provides "significant resources for potentially revolutionary social change" (p. iviii). Bryant is not alone in his assessment of the Bhagavatays position on women, drawing on the gopis in particular. Eric Huberman (1998: 175) offers a similar interpretation, comparing the gopls to typically male renouncers:

GENRE
Non-fictie
UITGEGEVEN
2010
1 juli
TAAL
EN
Engels
LENGTE
70
Pagina's
UITGEVER
American Oriental Society
GROOTTE
300.4
kB

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